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Nelson Appointed to Gruver Chair of Leadership Studies

Dr. Jeffrey E. Nelson has been appointed to the new William R. Gruver Chair of Leadership Studies at Berea College. Nelson’s appointment, announced by Dr. David Porter, College Provost and Academic Vice President, began Aug. 2.

Dr. Jeffrey Nelson

The newly established William R. Gruver Chair in Leadership Studies is one of two endowed chairs providing leadership for the Appalachian Center’s Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) program, which integrates entrepreneurial and leadership theory and puts these concepts into practice in Appalachia. The Gruver Chair honors Berea trustee William R. Gruver who was a partner in Goldman Sachs in New York City and now teaches finance and leadership courses at Bucknell University.

In addition to serving as EPG co-director, Nelson also holds a joint appointment as assistant professor in the Sociology Department.

The Abingdon, Ill. native comes to Berea from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) where he served as a faculty member of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership for 12 years. In addition to developing and teaching courses in leadership, Nelson designed leadership enrichment seminars for faculty and students, designed leadership curriculums and public school mentoring programs. As Deputy Department Head for Leadership Development for the past three years, he supervised a seven-person staff charged to develop, manage and present a variety of leadership programs at the USAFA. These included coaching and mentoring programs for faculty and students, the creation of a Leadership Research Office and designing a “Leadership Across the Curriculum” program.

Prior to teaching, Nelson held positions in the Air Force as leader of a research and development team and as Director of Information Management (IM) and Chief of IM Plans and Programs for the Eighth Air Force Headquarters at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

Nelson is an experienced presenter on leadership topics to both Air Force and civilian groups and has conducted numerous workshops on leadership and team development. He also has served as a consultant on leadership development with the Air Force, schools and for NASA.

Honors include selection in 2003 as a Presidential Fellow to represent the USAFA at Salzburg Seminars in Salzburg, Austria; and the Academy’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000.

After earning B.A. and M.A. degrees from Western Illinois University, Nelson earned an M.S. in Information Resource Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Pennsylvania State University.

Nelson and his wife, Kathy, have four daughters.

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